Both Apple and Google do a great job of preventing multi-site tracking. Google Chrome is slow expire cookiesand Apple goes furthest by asking users to block multi-app/multi-site tracking with theirs App transparency popups.
Custom in-app browsers however, are out of reach. Such browsers are annoying by default, how she wThey don’t have the history, usernames, passwords, or sharing options of your default browsers. But whyWhile they’re most commonly found in apps like Facebook and Instagram, they’re not limited to the big two meta-apps.
Because the app developers program in-app browsers themselves, they have a lot more freedom over what goes on there. A recent study by the Fastlane developer Felix Krause showed that Facebook and Instagram can track basically anything they want using their in-app browser, which they use to open all ads and links by default.
How works In-app browsuh tracking Work?
Technically, an in-app browser can even record personal information like passwords and credit card information as you type them into the text field, but the Study doesn’t show that Meta does everything the shameful. IHowever, it is important to note that a random app with its own built in web browser has the ability.
What can you do about in-app browser tracking??
Firstly, whenever you open a link in Instagram, Facebook or any other app with an in-app browser, get out of there. The app has already recorded that you opened the link and there isn’t much you can do about it, bBut you can stop tracking there. Instagram has an option to open the website in the default browser, hidden behind the menu button.
Another option is to stop using the app itself. Switch to the web app version and you won’t have to deal with this problem. And when we are Speaking of Instagramyou actually get a nicer and quieter experience without wheels.
That’s about all you can do. For website developers, Felix suggests a code sequence that makes Instagram think their code is already installed on the website. He also has suggestions on what Apple can do to prevent this type of abuse in the future. If you’re curious how he figured all this out (it’s a great read), take a look here: Felix Krause/9to5Mac.